Black Lives Matter protests in Toronto
Some considerations, thoughts and photos about the protests organized during the weekend of June 6 and 7 in Downtown Toronto.
In the US
Since the waves of protests and marches started in USA, I began my researches to understand as much as I could about the situation represented by an understandable frustration over a history of failure from police practices in the United States.
To better understand and refresh memories about the criminalisation of African Americans in North America, I strongly recommend a documentary called “13TH”, you can easily find it on Netflix or watch it for free on YouTube (link below).
As everyone knows, it all re-start with the death of George Floyd, at the hands of the Minneapolis Police. The main reason of the protests is the police brutality against African Americans, then also other topics has been brought to the attention: systemic racism, press freedom violations, human rights violations, censorship etc. In addition, the Covid19 pandemic, with all the stress that produced with lockdowns, economic crisis, school closures, disagreements between nations and so on.
Meanwhile I started to look on-line if there were protests to be documented in Toronto. Unfortunately I missed the march for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old woman falls 24 storeys from High Park building with police present. I then stumbled onto hundreds of posts and articles which made this research even more difficult. Articles about possible rioting planned in Downtown and the consequent barricading of the 90% of the stores in the area, about rumours claiming piles of bricks left out during the Toronto protests and lots of posts on Twitter and Instagram advising against the participation to the upcoming protests (5/6 June) because, I read, seems fishy, not well organized, unclear and not co-signed with the most famous organizations like Black Lives Matter Toronto or Not Another Black Life.
I headed toward Nathan Phillips Square around 2pm, after seeing on Twitter that an instigator showed up wearing blackface (arrested). I later noticed that the protest had moved to Yonge-Dundas Square, where I found hundreds of protesters.
With many of them I walked north through Yonge Street and then, on the way back to the Toronto City Hall, at the intersection of University and Queen Street, the parade met up with the The Trinity Bellwood protest creating a very wonderful moment.
The march it also stopped in front of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Headquarters and I was pleasantly surprised that there was no massive police presence, everything went 100% peaceful.
The speakers have been especially amazing, they expressed so much leadership and feelings in what and how they said, leading the group in an exemplary manner.
The course of this protest ended in front of the City Hall, where some Police officers took a knee.
Later I learned that this protest was organized mainly by students under the name of Toronto Solidarity Protest. 99% of the protestors had a mask and most of the time there was at least two meters of social distancing. On their social media pages was provided all the informations regarding values, Covid19 safety and protest safety.
In conclusion, despite all the concerns about these protests, nothing bad happened, all the protests has been absolutely peaceful and great moments happened. It is well known that the organizations have the responsibility to ensure the safety of the participants, for sure the organizers of all the protests happened on 5 and 6 June in Toronto still have to learn from the most recognized and famous ones but, in my opinion, they committed themselves and is much better than nothing.
Let’s see what those new generations can do and maybe offer support, advices and feedbacks to them. It is awesome and surprising that some of these young people still has the desire to make a change.
How can we help?
Not another black life > Donate
Toronto based.“black activist group.”
Black Lives Matter Toronto > Donate
Toronto based.“To forge critical connections and to work in solidarity with black communities, black-centric networks, solidarity movements, and allies in order to to dismantle all forms of state-sanctioned oppression, violence, and brutality committed against African, Caribbean, and Black cis, queer, trans, and disabled populations in Toronto.“
Black Lives Matter > Donate
“Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
The Innocence Project > Donate
“The Innocence Project’s mission is to free the staggering number of innocent people who remain incarcerated, and to bring reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.”
Know Your Rights Camp > Donate
“Our mission is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.”
ACLU of Minnesota > Donate
“Our vision for our state and country is one that fulfills the promise of the Minnesota and United States Constitutions to protect the civil rights and liberties of everyone.”